HEALTH: What should we cook tonight?

What should we cook tonight? This question is asked daily by millions of people, and it is also a question that too often remains unanswered. The reason for this, in my opinion, is convenience. Specifically, laziness. It is no secret that many people live rushed lifestyles, in which “eating on the run” is the norm. A sit down meal becomes a multitask of eating while running, biking, talking, and even driving (not recommended). I think it is very important to cook at least 2-3 meals a week, mainly because cooking at home has many benefits. Cooking can be therapeutic for some people, it is social, and you get to see first-hand what you are putting in your mouth. I have stressed the importance of eating organic as often as possible, not only because organic produce is higher in nutrients, free of neurotoxins and pesticides, it is sustainable, but also because organic simply tastes better. With that aside, setting away some time to cook for yourself and/or others is a great way to get creative in the kitchen, and to forget about the everyday hustle and bustle.

Tonight, I am challenging my readers to cook with the help of one of my all time favorite chefs, Mario Batali. If you have not seen his website, shame on you! Just kidding. But seriously, Mario has one of the coolest websites for sharing beloved (and delectable) recipes, as well as helpful cooking videos (website below). Happy cooking!

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Fritters

Romanesco alla Diavola

Recipe courtesy of Molto Batali (ecco 2011)



(Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish)

 1 large or 2 medium heads (about 2 pounds) Romanesco (or use regular cauliflower)

1 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted

3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes

Kosher or sea salt

10 garlic cloves


Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Cut the Romanesco into small florets, submerge them in the ice water, and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the olives, capers, parsley, and lemon zest on a chopping board, and chop together until minced.

In a small pot, heat the 1/3 cup oil and the red pepper flakes over medium-low heat until hot. Remove from the heat, and stir in the olive mixture, 1 teaspoon salt, and the lemon juice. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add 2 tablespoons salt. Drain the Romanesco from its ice bath, drop it into the boiling water, and add the garlic cloves. Cook until the florets are just tender, 5 minutes. Drain well, and separate out the garlic cloves. Add the cooked garlic cloves to the olive-caper dressing.

Place the dressing in a large bowl, add the Romanesco, and toss well. Taste, and add more salt, red pepper flakes, and/or lemon juice as needed. Serve hot or at room temperature, drizzled with the remaining olive oil. (If serving at room temperature, adjust the seasoning again before drizzling with oil.)

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